Opening Day to Bike & Hike at Northstar California

547284_349278815154232_1618896414_nWith temperatures around the basin heating up and the sun slipping behind the mountains later each day, it is no secret – summertime has arrived in Lake Tahoe.  What does that mean besides BBQs, beach days and summer weekend traffic? It means that resorts and vendors throughout the basin will begin launching their summer schedule of activity programs.

A big player in the region did just that today.  Northstar California owned by Vail Resorts starting turning their chairlifts again, celebrating the opening day of their downhill mountain bike park and trail lift access for the summer season.

Northstar California is home to Northern California’s largest mountain bike park offering beginner to advanced cross country and downhill mountain biking trails, bike rentals and repair, lift access throughout the resort and its own Bike Academy.  Whether you are an expert or a novice downhill mountain biker like me, this place has something for you.  The ultimate perk, with lift access you can cut out 1/2 the work by riding the chair lifts up the mountain alongside your bike and focus your time and energy on enjoying the thrill of riding down the mountain instead.

My personal favorite and recommendation for beginners is to sign-up for a lesson with Northstar’s Bike Academy Bike 101 program.  It’s the perfect introduction to both mountain biking as well as the resort terrain teaching you all the basic skills needed, familiarity with the equipment 2013-summer-trail-mapand safety instructions.  The Bike 101 program includes half-day bike rental, safety gear and helmet as well as a lift ticket to enjoy the mountain which you can explore all day after your lesson.  I tried the experience last summer, loved it and looking forward to returning this year.  The staff is phenomenal, well versed in mountain biking techniques as well as knowledge of the mountain.

Also, if you have never ridden a chairlift in the summertime, frankly you’re missing out.  Most associate chairlifts with wintertime activities, but here you can enjoy the gorgeous views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and glimpses of nearby Lake Tahoe all summer long on the hiking trails of Northstar California.  With three main chairlift access open including the Gondola, Tahoe Zephyr Express or Vista Express chairlifts, families and friends can explore the mountainside enjoying scenic views of Lake Tahoe, Martis Valley and the Sierra Crest of in the distance.  Easy lift access, clearly marked trails and parameters of the resort, make it easy for out-of-town families to explore hiking trails safely and with more familiarity than in the open, backcountry of the basin.

Afraid you and your kids might get hooked?  No problem, Northstar California offers competitive season passes packages allowing guests to enjoy access to the biking trails and hiking trails all summer long through September.  Learn more about mountain bike and hiking pass pricing as well as season passes.   Also learn more about the resort’s hours of operations as well as answers to all of your questions about the mountain experience.

Do you enjoy downhill mountain biking and if so, where are your favorite places to ride in Lake Tahoe? Please share your feedback in the comments below.

If you enjoying learning about Lake Tahoe follow my blog and me at @robinpenning to receive information on tips, news, activities and special events in Lake Tahoe.

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6 thoughts on “Opening Day to Bike & Hike at Northstar California

  1. Thank you for sharing another wonderful outing. I would have never thought about Northstar for hiking. I want to do the hike to Watson Lake and back. Thank you Kim

    • Thanks Kim, I have only hiked from Watson Lake to the look-out above, not all the way from 267 along the Tahoe Rim Trail but I have heard that its a great hike. Let me know if you try it! Northstar also has a short, 1hr roundtrip hike to Sawmill Lake within the resort which can be a fun, short hike.

    • Kids of any age can enjoy the mountain. Northstar’s website recommends that children under four ride the gondola with their families instead of the regular chair lifts. There are (2) gondola lifts – the Big Springs Gondola which takes families to mid-mountain and then the Zephyr gondola which can transports guests higher up the mountain. Kids 4 and under are free!

  2. I have been mountain biking for two seasons now, I ride dirt bikes but mountain bikes are a totally different ball game. It sounds like I should really take advantage of the academy!

    • Thanks Brin! You would probably master ride 101 pretty quick if you dirt bike, but the best part is that with enrollment you get access to the entire mountain resort for the rest of the day so you can go big or lay low depending on how you feel. Definitely check it out! Bet you would get some great photos too, especially from the top of the mountain where there are lake views.

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